Democracy in Chains

An Offer to Publish a Favorable Review of Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains


Duke history professor Nancy MacLean is author of the atrocious hit job on the late Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan, Democracy in Chains, a book that has been savagely and justly eviscerated on this blog and elsewhere. In the book, among other inventions, MacLean spins a made-up conspiracy theory about how Buchanan provided the intellectual software to fuel Charles Koch's (who else?) determination to undermine American democracy.

In a recent C-Span interview, at around the 19:30 mark, MacLean claims that some "refugees from the libertarian movement," whatever that means, have contacted her to tell her that they agree with her negative assessment of Koch. That would not be terribly surprising, as Koch and his allies have had run-ins with many libertarians over the years.

A bit more surprising, she also claims that one of these refugees wrote a favorable review of her book, and tried to place "on all the libertarian websites", but none would agree to publish it. She intimates that this is because all the potential publishers are afraid to offend Charles Koch.

I, for one, would love to see a spirited defense of MacLean's book from a libertarian (or recent ex-libertarian?), especially because every libertarian who I know who has read the book thinks it's utter garbage. Perhaps there are some redeeming aspects to the book that we have missed?

I therefore make this offer: Send the review to me. Assuming it's not legally defamatory, I will publish the book review right here, on the Conspiracy webpage, if the author will send it to me. If, that is, it really exists. I should also note that co-blogger Jonathan Adler has an open offer to MacLean to "publish a substantive response to the criticisms of her book," an offer she has not taken up.

NEXT: Congratulations to Josh Blackman

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  1. Weeeelllllll sheeeit, we’d only have your word for not receiving such a review. And your a Kochtopus-kissing libertarian, ainchew? So Nancy MacLean wins again, by default.


    1. His incentives are all wrong. The refugee in question could simply publicly accuse Prof. Bernstein of not following through on his promise and Bernstein losses personal credibility which affects his standing in the academic/legal community and perhaps even future job offers. On the other hand falsely claiming to have received no review grants might infinitesmally advance his preferred political/academic narrative.

      Indeed, Prof. Bernstein does the best if he does publish the review in question and publicly responds to it getting points both for his intellectual honesty and more eyeballs seeing his response (which he believes to be convincing).

  2. Having read MacLean’s book, and noted in comments here some problems I have with it, I still wouldn’t much blame her if she didn’t want this for a forum. The responses I saw from libertarians excoriating MacLean amounted to little more than repetitions from an original, Buchanan-defensive hit piece against MacLean. Almost nothing in the commentary here was specific enough to convince me that most people attacking MacClean had even read the book. Nothing in the commentary suggested knowledge of the subject superior to what MacClean seemed to demonstrate in what she published.

    I did fault MacClean for writing in a style which left room for the criticisms she received?especially with regard to vague footnoting. For that reason, I’m not ready to accept completely MacClean’s text as accurate history?although, having been attentive to news reports of the Virginia school desegregation crisis as it happened, I found nothing in the book to contradict my recollections. I am ready to charge her critics for piling on with attacks apparently based on little more than self-defensive concern for the reputation of libertarian ideology during its formative era.

    1. “The responses I saw from libertarians excoriating MacLean amounted to little more than repetitions””

      This is not the case. There are multiple critiques of MacLean’s boo and they hardly need to address the same points: there are a bazillion things wrong with it, and many of those things are egregious

      e.g. Russ Roberts focuses primarily on her dishonest misquoting of Tyler Cowen

      Steve Horovitz points out mis-quotes of Buchanan himself

      David Bernstein focuses on how “MacLean tied the rise of the early libertarian movement to hostility to Brown v. Board of Education” – a hostility that her own sources say never existed at all

      Mike Munger shreds the book in a dozen ways completely independent of the above-noted faults

      and more (there is a link limit, else i’d share them)

      Please cite your examples of what libertarian critics were “repeating”. Surely if they were so few you can be specific?

    2. Stephen,
      I have not read the book and was not alive in segregation era Virginia. I would never have heard of this book but-for the backlash on libertarian websites. Since then, I have read less than favorable reviews on Balkinization and Vox, both of which are very sympathetic to MacLean politically.

      Can you point me to any substantive responses to these critiques? At decent chunk of the critiques are substantive (poor citiations, taking quotes out of context) which I would expect could be answered substantively.

      1. Gilmore and Monitors Most, I am not inclined to argue further with people who have not read MacClean’s book themselves. Once you have given MacClean’s book a careful read, and perused the notes, we can have a discussion.

        1. So you can’t even win an argument with people who haven’t read it.

          1. Careless, that’s sort of right. Think it over. Not only could I not win an argument with book critics who haven’t read the book, no one else could either.

            A person who tries would first have to read the book for them, and explain everything the person wanted to say about the text in its entire context. Every remark would go over the character limit. Then the critics would just come back with more and more made-up stuff, because that’s all they have. What else could they do? They don’t know anything about what the person is talking about.

            If somebody wants a discussion of a book, the book is there. They can read it. Then what’s in the book becomes a shared reality everyone can talk about together. Isn’t that the customary method?

            1. That’s really stupid. Try having an argument about technical aspects of, say, free speech law with EV. You will lose horribly because you do not know what you are talking about and he does. When you know the subject you can speak from authority. You don’t need to quote entire pages.

              1. I never try to argue with EV about technical aspects of free speech law, for the reason you mention. If I were foolish enough to do it, it would be beyond surprising if EV chose to engage me at all. He would have to give me a legal education to make his points, and that’s too much work.

                Likewise, book critics who haven’t read books shouldn’t excoriate their authors. If that happens anyway, sensible people who have read the books are generally wise not to argue with them. People whose conduct marks them as heedless of facts tend to be too laborious to correct.

                Practical, not stupid.

                1. A book critic who critiques a book without reading it engages in a sort of malpractice. But for someone who is not acting as a book critic, there is every right to have an opinion about, and to comment on, a book without having read it, based on the work of people like book critics. If this were not the case, why even have book critics? And if you can’t form an opinion on a book without reading it, how do you decide what to read in the first place?

                  If I haven’t read the book and you have, I can express an opinion based on what I’ve read or heard about the book, and you can correct me based on your having read it if I’m wrong on a factual matter. This isn’t that difficult.

                2. I never try to argue with EV about technical aspects of free speech law,

                  Uh huh. In much the same way that Donald Trump never criticizes CNN.

                  Likewise, book critics who haven’t read books shouldn’t excoriate their authors.

                  If I find a passage in a book on the computer industry that claims that Steve Jobs was successful because of his mastery of product commoditization, I don’t need to read the rest of the book before pointing out that this is crap. If the core thesis of the book is that Jobs churned out commodity products, and the book Dowdifies a few quotes in support of that thesis, I don’t need to read every page to know that author is either ignorant or dishonest or both.

                  The “You can’t criticize me unless you’ve read every word I’ve written” is sophistry.

        2. I am not inclined to argue further

          Given no attempt at substantiation of your claims, you never had any argument to begin with.

        3. Stephen,
          I’m not trying to argue. I just wanted to know if there was a substantive response to the critiques that I could read.

          1. I’m just wondering why Mr. Lathrop ignores Gilmore’s point, which is that there are lots of critiques of the book that aren’t just copies of one original ur-critique, by people who Hadn’t Read The Book.

            (For that matter, one need not have read the whole book to notice and critique misquotes, reading sources as supporting what they oppose [or vice versa], or any number of other substantive critiques.

            “But you don’t know the whole context” is almost entirely irrelevant in something claiming to be a serious work of historical scholarship – every failed or reversed-meaning citation undermines whatever it was meant to support and undermines faith in the author’s competence … or, worse, their good faith.

            Add up a pile of those and you have a book it’s not worth reading in its whole because it’s riddled with errors that are indefensible in a scholarly work*.

            * Hell, even in non-scholarly work.)

            1. This the progressive version of Dunphy’s “totality of circumstances”.


            2. Sigivald, I agree with your third paragraph entirely. Which is why I have serious reservations about MacClean, and whether this work is trustworthy.

              A problem I have with her critics is that I know they are not trustworthy. They are offended ideologues, who care notably less for facts than even a visibly compromised MacClean seems to do. And some of the facts MacClean does offer are hard to brush aside?but not for folks who didn’t read them.

              Nevertheless, I concede that rival scholarship might show her in error. But not from critics who haven’t even noticed what she is pointing to, because they didn’t read it, or don’t care, or seem to start with the notion that if it is factual, it ought to be somehow discredited anyway.

              Once you concede many of the critics haven’t read the book, I think you have largely made my point that their criticism is derivative?and for all a reader can tell, derived from remarks by other critics who also didn’t read the book.

              1. Which critics did not read the book? Where is your proof that they did not? Aren’t the multiple reviews enough, each with multiple quotes sourced from many points within the book, many with in-depth looks at her citations, proof that these critics have read the book? And how are their critiques derivative if they are completely different in content? This is utter, faux-thoughtful, nonsense.

                It’s pretty obvious that you are concern trolling, that you do not truly believe that critics haven’t read the book, and that you just don’t like the people defending a person and a movement worth defending.

                1. Bongo, you apparently not only haven’t read the book, you don’t seem to have read the critics you are trying to defend. I didn’t see in the linked critiques anything which I would describe as “in-depth looks at her citations.” None of them that I saw wrote as if they even knew that in the footnotes to her fourth chapter MacClean published references to Buchanan’s own writing which undermine the critics’ arguments. And subsequent chapters and their notes further strengthen MacClean’s case.

                  I don’t recall any of the critics I have been directed to saying outright that they have read the book, but you might have seen stuff I missed, so correct me if you have specifics. I think it’s possible that some of them did read it, but don’t want to say so, because they could then be questioned on notes MacClean included that they don’t want to acknowledge.

                  And of course Russ Roberts was forthright, when challenged by MacClean, to say he had not read the book.

                  Can you point me to a critic who says, “Yeah, I read it all the way through.” If someone like that wants to weigh in, maybe a productive dialogue could follow. If not, then you are going to have to read the book yourself, or be content to be corrected by people who have. It’s always an advantage to know what you are talking about.

          2. MonitorsMost, there is a substantive response available.

            For instance, read the Russ Roberts critique, and MacClean’s answer. Note MacClean in her answer argues her book in its totality shows accurate interpretation of the quotes, despite Cowen qualifications she brushed aside (which she absolutely should not have done, I say). The point I agree with?with continuing reservations about MacClean (because bad scholarly style is a substantive issue): Cowen’s subsequent conduct and advocacy tends to show his (unquoted) cautionary remarks were pro-forma, while the part MacClean quoted turned out to be the operative part of Cowen’s advocacy.

            Note that Roberts apologizes. Note that MacClean herself couldn’t begin to properly correct Roberts in so few characters as we are allowed here.

            In the end, MacClean says, as I do, read the entire book. But then adds specifics to show why what Roberts did not read qualifies interpretation of the quotes Roberts complained about. Which I say also, to all these non-book-reading critics.

            And then note that Roberts response shifts gears, stops with complaints about misquotations, and complains instead that libertarian ambitions to do what MacClean charges they are doing are perfectly okay?and by doing so almost concedes MacClean’s larger point.

            By the way, I credit Roberts with notable intellectual honesty in this exchange.

            The other linked critiques seem plagued by similar issues.

        4. Many people reading MacLean’s book would have little or no background on Buchanan or Koch to be able to evaluate her claims.

          So discussing the book only with people who read the book would basically be discussing the book with people with exposure to a single point of view and set if knowledge of the the subject.

          1. Naaman, your point is a good one, and I have to reserve judgment about MacClean not only because of unorthodox footnoting style, but because of what you say as well. It’s worth noting that she says in the book that she has based some of it on an archive which almost no one (or maybe no one at all, I’m not sure) has previously accessed for scholarly research. That would certainly be a point against accepting her claims as conclusive. It does seem to me, though, that it also ought to induce caution among people who want to attack what she says?which does not seem to have happened.

    3. “The responses I saw from libertarians excoriating MacLean amounted to little more than repetitions from an original, Buchanan-defensive hit piece against MacLean.”

      And that’s a reason not to address your critics, even to address the shortcomings that you yourself noted?

  3. SL, you remember James Buchanan being involved in the Virginia school desegregation crisis? LOL.

    1. Did SL say that, or even imply it? Why misrepresent what SL said?

        1. @Gilmore


      1. having been attentive to news reports of the Virginia school desegregation crisis as it happened, I found nothing in the book to contradict my recollections.

        No need to misrepresent what he said when it’s sitting right there in black and fucking white for anybody who isn’t wilfully retarded to read it.

        1. SL said nothing about “remember[ing] James Buchanan being involved” – that’s pure fabrication by DB.

          SL stated A) that he was attentive to news reports about the Virginia desegregation crisis, and B) that nothing in MacLean’s book conflicts with what he recalls about the crisis. SL’s statement contains absolutely no implication that SL recalls Buchanan being involved, and there was no reason for DB to assert that it did.

          1. Seems to me it depends on what the book says about Buchanan vis a vis the desegregation crisis. If the book says Buchanan was in the streets yelling “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” then Bernstein’s comment would be right. If the book says Buchanan has never been to the State of Virginia, and SL doesn’t any memory contradicting that, then it doesn’t say or imply that.

            So I don’t think you (or Gilmore or hello.) can that implication is or isn’t there unless you’ve read the book.

          2. “”SL said nothing about “remember[ing] James Buchanan being involved””

            That’s the central claim of MacLean’s book

            If he “found nothing in the book to contradict my recollections.”, there’s no point citing one’s recollections as relevant if James Buchanan wasn’t specifically part of them.

            He might as well have said, “i know absolutely nothing about James Buchanan, and nothing in MacLeans book contradicted my state of complete ignorance”. It would be more accurate.

            1. “”i know absolutely nothing about James Buchanan, and nothing in MacLean’s book [remedied] my state of complete ignorance”

              Sounds like a very accurate book review of MacLean’s book. A book primarily about James Buchanan, which conveys no (accurate) information whatsoever about James Buchanan.

            2. The book explores information that was not publicized during the time of the crisis. That is the central feature of the book. Other information (that was public at the time) is included so the reader can understand the context. Saying that someone remembers things that were publicized at the time (and that those things are accurately presented in the book) does not imply that person remembers things that were not publicized at the time.

              1. Indeed.

                i believe the layman’s term for this is “pettifoggery”

                MacLean’s central claim is about Buchanan. Her claims about him are mostly false.

                Defending the book on the basis that “well, its peripheral historical context “seems accurate, to me at least“… is choosing to defend something no one is criticizing, because its irrelevant. Its the definition of ‘besides the point’. its meaningless.

                1. My recollection of the book is that MacLean’s remarks about Buchanan are mostly about material taken from Buchanan’s own writings, and footnoted, although sometimes poorly presented, or, as some argue, misleadingly presented, in the text. Do you suggest the sources themselves are “false?”

                  What is your recollection of the book? You read it from cover to cover, right?

      2. Yes he did!
        “…having been attentive to news reports of the Virginia school desegregation crisis as it happened, I found nothing in the book to contradict my recollections.”

  4. How does one become even become a former libertarian, much less a refugee? It’s not like anyone is going to try to bring you back.

    1. Didn’t you know? The Koch brothers send out secret hit squads to persecute and destroy apostates! It’s the libertarian way! /sarc

    2. You listen to enough Tom Petty, then all of a sudden you start thinking that you don’t have to live like a refugee

    3. Well, former is easy – stop being one.

      The refugee part, well, no, that’s just ludicrous.

  5. Focus like this is a virtue in academia. And I guess some parts of broadcast media.

    Because anywhere else, it seems kinda weird.

    1. So, you’re not willing to defend the book and wish people would stop talking about it?

      1. Tellingly, this post isn’t even about the book, it’s just calling the author a liar about some collateral issue.

        And you somehow believe it’s a takedown of the book? Ad hominem by implication works on you, I guess!

        1. So she lies about a collateral issue six months later, and Bernstein calls her out. This makes him too focused on the book?

          And in any event, just what do you think academics do?

          1. The post is just assuming she’s lied. Because you’ll never find apostate libertarians!

            But yeah, this makes him to focus on this lady.
            From friends of mine who have now become law professors, I understand this kind of indefatigable focus bordering on obsession is rewarded in academia. Both on a conceptual level as you chisel out a conceptual arena for yourself, and on an infighting level.

            But it is a weird world.

        2. It’s collateral, but it’s not unrelated. And if you believe someone is lying about one matter, what does that do to how you assess their credibility in other matters?

          1. Offering your speculation about honesty in one matter as proof of honesty in another isn’t actually offering anything probative, even allowing propensity evidence.

    2. One post every six months or whatever it is now?

      1. Yeah, this coming up again after all that time does make me roll my eyes until I realize that it’s very on brand for a certain academic population.

        1. There’s something sadly amusing that MacLean’s book has seemingly been smoldering in Bernstein’s skull the past year. No posts about Trump, no posts about anti-Semitism?maybe none of that stuff is noteworthy now??but when he re-emerges it’s the grand demon Nancy MacLean once again. Academia does attract and even sometimes reward that kind of obsession to take down others, but it’s one of those traits that make non-academics look at us as a bunch of weirdos.

    3. Obviously he took it personally that MacLean attempted label libertarians as White supremecists. Nothing there for a Jewish libertarian to get offended by.

      1. I have no interest in the book, so I’ll take your word on it’s thesis.

        But even assuming that, Prof/ Bernstein has quite an indirect way of showing his offense.

  6. I presume you have some standard of famousness or something right? I mean I couldn’t simply insist that I’m a former libertarian and give you some random piece of crap I wrote.

    1. So to establish his credibility as a libertarian fan of MacLean, a Democrat decides he’ll register as a libertarian.

      So he goes to the voter registrar’s office and fills out the form. As the registrar starts putting the information into the computer, the guy notices that the registrar is very attractive.

      “Stop, stop!” says the guy, “I’ve only been a libertarian for a few seconds and already I want to screw somebody!”

    2. I was wondering about that and if he meant he would publish anything MacLean forwarded, or anything anyone sent in.

    3. To be sure here, I understand as the offer of the opening post:

      Nancy MacLean claimed on C-Span that a favorable review of her “Democracy in Chains” written by a “libertarian refugee” was rejected at libertarian websites due to the publishers’ fear of offending Charles Koch.

      David E. Bernstein has offered to publish that review here on the Conspiracy.

      The comments are diverting, but off the topic of the opening post.

      Obvious to me is that Bernstein believes the libertarian refugee’s “Democracy in Chains” review stiffled by publishers’ fear of Koch is a mythical being.

      The only response of interest would be if that unicorn actually comes out of the forest. If it exists I also suspect the modern view of unicorns would be proven false (they are not prancing my sparkle ponies with narwhale tusks farting rainbows, but medieval single horned mountain goats leaving havok in their wake, critters of gothic horror not fantasy.)

  7. Dear Mr. Bernstein,

    Democracy in Chains was elegant, and libertarians are mostly ugly dudes who can’t find women to let them touch them. Na-na-na na-na-na.

    Bucs “Best Used Car Sales” Jameson

    1. The sad thing is, this joke isn’t much different than MacLean’s own arguments. A couple of weeks ago she said that libertarians were “autistic.”

      1. You only think she’s wrong because you’re autistic.

        1. Really they only think that because they are wanting for a woman’s touch.

      2. It was much worse than that. She said that they were like autistics in that they were “people who don’t feel solidarity or empathy with others”

        It’s slightly true to say that libertarians are autistic. A lot of us are. It’s incredibly ignorant to describe autistics in that manner.

        1. It would be richly ironic if, the next time McLean speaks on a college campus, autistic students “deplatformed” her for “invalidating them as people.”

          1. It would have to be students who have autistic family members, because of the aforementioned fact that autistic students don’t usually give a shit what other people think. And crowds freak them out.

            Oh, shit. I just descibed most Libertarians I know.

        2. I mean, obviously, anyone who feels solidarity or empathy shares only her politics, because she has those, and thus they’re the required politics for those feelings.

  8. She intimates that this is because all the potential publishers are afraid to offend Charles Koch.

    Just goes to show you even a stopped a clock tells the right time twice a day. There literally isn’t one single American institution that wears a libertarian label that hasn’t accepted money from the Kochs. It’s an extremely small minority of libertarian groups that are not utterly and totally dependent upon money from the Kochs. And that fact is well reflected by the frequently-shifting yet always-in-lockstep-agreement positions of the American libertarian movement which somehow without fail happen to conveniently coincide with whatever cause c?l?bre has struck the Koch brothers’ fancy.

    However, since every liberal rag in the country runs at least a half dozen “libertarian refugee” puff pieces every year the mystery libertarian in question would never find even a modicum of difficulty getting his puff piece published right alongside them.

    1. There literally isn’t one single American institution that wears a libertarian label that hasn’t accepted money from the Kochs.

      The Mises Institute.

      1. Okay, now name five more.

        1. The entire paleolibertarian apparatus. Ron Paul and his affiliated institutions, for starters.

        2. Why does he need to name five more, when one counter-example is sufficient?

        3. Then ten more after that. Then keep going and once you stop I’ll be able to say “gotcha”!

        4. “OK that was one, I’ll move the goal post.”

          1. Gotta say, that was a hilariously blatant example of that particular behavior.

    2. “Bro, I hated the Kochtopus before Jane Mayer made it cool.”

    3. “There literally isn’t one single American institution that wears a libertarian label that hasn’t accepted money from the Kochs.”

      “It’s an extremely small minority of libertarian groups that are not utterly and totally dependent upon money from the Kochs.”

      I’m going to guess you think these two claims are roughly equivalent?

      The most laughable thing about the Koch focused two minute hates, is the way getting funding from an organization the Kochs contribute to is treated as as getting all your funding from the Kochs themselves, as though they’re totally in control of any organization they give any money to at all, and nobody else donating to the org counts at all.

      1. Brett, I don’t think those concerned about the Kochs’ influence should necessarily be comforted if much of their funding is indirect.

        It seems reasonable to suppose that if org Y gets (say) 30% of its funding form X, then X has considerable influence on Y, perhaps even extending to occasional effective veto power over major initiatives, even if X is not Y’s largest funder.

        If Y in turn funds 30% of org Z, and the same power relationship exists between those two, then X has bought somewhat less certain but still significant influence over Z (and all similar 2nd-level fundees) three times as cheaply as if the funding were direct.

        As a bonus, such influence is more deniable than direct contributions (witness Brett’s comment:-).

        1. Now, if you can demonstrate that the Kochs are supplying enough of the funding of organization A, that when organization A funds organization B, it’s just the Kochs laundering the funds, that’s one thing.

          But you’ve got to demonstrate it. Not just assume that if the Kochs donate some funds to organization A, every cent organization A disburses is Koch money. It’s this “one drop” rule, where any organization that gets any Koch money at all is assumed to be a Koch sock puppet, even if they get most of their support elsewhere, that pisses me off.

          You can’t just assume it, you’ve got to do the work to prove it.

        2. Only totally unfunded organizations are free of the taint of their sources total domination, because money is root of all evil. Anyone receiving Koch, Bloomberg, Soros money looses independence.

      2. Progressives do have a tendency to project their own funding and subsequent control by Soreholes!

        1. True that. Like they claim the NRA is astroturf, when most of the anti-gun groups in the country collapsed when Pew decided they were wasting their money, and not one of the survivors is actually membership based.

          They always accuse you of what they’re doing.

    4. So Hillary Clinton was afraid to offend the Saudis because her foundation was getting their money?

    5. This is an interesting claim to make in the comments to a blog that was harshly critical of the Kochs’ treatment of the Cato Institute.
      See, e.g.:…..from-cato/

      1. But you’re not an institution. You’re a conspiracy

        More seriously, when does a longstanding blog of serious people become an institution? You guys have more influence than, well, a significant portion of think tanks.

      2. “That doesn’t count because reasons. Also Kochs.”

    6. I’d take any money the Kochs wanted to waste on me, and continue to say anything I felt like.

      (“Always in lockstep agreement”?

      Assumes facts not in evidence, bucko.)

    7. yet always-in-lockstep-agreement positions of the American libertarian movement

      You ever sat through a libertarian discussion of abortion? Or worse, Hawaiian or deep dish pizza?

      Didn’t think so.

      1. The faux libertarians (conservatives in libertarian drag) tend to oppose abortion, spending most of their time explaining why the authoritarian position is libertarian.

        The genuine libertarians tend to oppose criminalization of abortion.

        The same dividing line is exhibited with respect to immigration, military belligerence, torture, the drug war, treatment of gays, and many other issues.

          1. So he claims. Yet he consistently supports candidates who oppose reproductive rights and gay rights, because he thinks it is in his economic interest.

            1. The important thing is that he’s *personally* for abortion rights, so how dare you point to his behavior as in any way indicating his views on abortion?

              More seriously, Koch money helps support the Reason Foundation which runs the very site we’re on now. Is Volokh Conspiracy prolife? I know the Reason Magazine part of the Foundation is highly “prochoice.”

        1. Good job not porking dead threads, artie poo.

        2. Yeah, because there’s absolutely no Libertarian philosophy ever expressed that can find a role for government regulation! Well, actually, I guess there’s the handful that grudgingly accept that murder needs to be illegal…but going from “murder should be illegal” to “abortion should be illegal” is such a huge step, that no Libertarian could possibly make it!

          This is doubly so, considering that Libertarians are *so* famous for their lock-step enforcement of opinion their own ranks….if by “lock step”, you mean that whenever you have a gathering of at least 1 Libertarians to discuss just one topic, you’re guaranteed at least n^2 + 1 opinions for each of three topics, two of which are tangents or non-sequeteurs, where n is the number of libertarians in the group….

      2. I have 5 friends that claim the mantle of libertarian, I can’t get a consensus on the time of day…lockstep? hahahahahahahahaha

        1. Rev Arthur may think this observation is a joke, but I have had heated arguments over the time of day because I refuse to acknowledge Daylight Saving Time.

          I’m pro-life, too…but only as pro-life as one can be, when one is an anarcho-capitalist. (There isn’t much wiggle room on the issue when your stance is, “I oppose abortion…but I also think murder should be legal, and only considered a civil matter”…)

    8. I’m glad I’m not this demented.

  9. She hasn’t taken up the offer, has she?

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  11. Well, if such a ‘friendly, ex-libertarian’ reviewer actually existed (which I doubt), I was going to guess Will Wilkinson, but apparently he’s already published his (somewhat) friendly review:

    1. To save everyone else the time, here’s the entire portion of the post from Wilkinson that is relevant to this subject (none of the rest of it mentions anything that Buchanan believed, said, wanted, etc)

      The influence of James Buchanan and the “public choice” school of political economy certainly plays a role in this latest scholarly wave of libertarian democracy-skepticism. But this isn’t really the stuff that feeds the anti-democratic instincts of the American right, and it’s not driven by the sinister motives MacLean imagines having driven Buchanan.

      So it’s completely against MacLean’s view.

      1. IIUC it is more anti-Direct Democracy aka mob rule or anti-Democratic Socialism aka Communism as it appears that most people still prefer Constitutional Republic form of democracy.

  12. Is this an offer for a paid libertarian review of the book?

    1. Not be my understanding of the opening post. To repeat myself:

      Nancy MacLean claimed on C-Span that a favorable review of her “Democracy in Chains” written by a “libertarian refugee” was rejected at libertarian websites due to the publishers’ fear of offending Charles Koch.

      David E. Bernstein has offered to publish that review here on the Conspiracy.

  13. Since it is just possible MacLean does not read the VC, may I suggest contacting her more directly with your offer?

    Nailing notices up on telephone poles is a hit-or-miss proposition.

    1. worked when I lost my dog!

    2. Given some have claimed Volokh Conspiracy website has more influence than some foundations or institutes, calling VC a “telephone pole” is hardly apt. In legal commentary, it is the most prominent telephone pole I have seen.

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